Monday, July 1, 2013

Joel Klein Teaching Resume: Sept/Oct 1968 During Teacher Strike - Was Klein a Scab?

Klein went into teaching for the draft deferment (like I did). Did Joel Klein ever teach at all? In Bloomberg's waiver plea 2002 letter to State Ed Commissioner Richard Mills, Bloomberg used Klein's supposed teaching experience in NYC public schools in 1968 as record of his qualifications. In fact the schools were mostly closed during those 2 months due to the 68 strike. Did Klein break the strike and actually teach? I asked him a few times to share his experience (he ignored the question) since we both came out of that 6 week training period which so clearly inadequately prepared us to teach and if anything should have made him wary of a TFA like program. In fact I am more and more sure that Klein never really taught at all and if he did it had to be as a strike breaker during the strike when the few schools that were open had few kids. He had no real experience at all and clearly ran as soon as he could. Note how the particular school is not mentioned to cover his tracks.

The entire 7 page Bloomberg letter and Klein resume is available here.
Below are the relevant excerpts.
Bloomberg letter to Mills where he uses 1969, wrong year for the teacher strike.

 From Klein resume:

I was in the same program the year before (it was called Intensive Teacher Training Program - ITTP - and we received 10 free credits from NYU for the elementary school division (middle school math got 8) and it lasted a few years from 66-69 --- as far as I saw all men from all over the nation -- the grad school deferments were ended so this was often a desperate crew. Many left as soon as they could -- I in fact replaced a guy in my first regular teaching classroom gig from Columbia Law School who got some other deferment and left in mid-year -- Jan. '69. Yes, Klein and I were separated at birth, growing up in similar backgrounds at the same time except he went the way of the devil.


  1. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)Monday, July 1, 2013 at 10:43:00 PM EDT

    Intermediate school = 6th grade??????? I do not know if that is just me or me being petty. When I was going to elementary school in Queens, it was until 6th grade. Isn't intermediate school 7&8th? Regardless, would it shock you if he was indeed a scab? Maybe that is why he hates teachers so much.

  2. How many people on the left broke that strike Norm? Do we really want to keep bringing up the 1968 strike?

    1. Obviously one of the old time Unity gang who want to bury 68. Yes most leftists broke the strike because they saw it as an assault on community control which in some ways it was though I think many on the left are coming to view it from a more balanced view -- while not strictly the left I am left leaning -- I view it in a more balanced way.
      The difference from Klein -- and in fact the law student I replaced who also broke the strike because he claimed it was breaking the law and he couldn't be a lawyer for breaking the law-- was for other reasons. Anti-union? Selfish? or maybe he never did cross the line and only claims to have taught. On any level not honest whereas the left were honest intentioned -- many of my friends who are staunch unionists crossed the line. If it happened today I would urge everyone to honor the picket lines but take a strong stand against the strike and battle it out with the leadership. Some people even black Unity people did just that.

  3. As someone who taught during the 1868 strike I really have no interest in rehashing the same old arguments. However I do want to disagree with my dear friend Norm when he states that "the few schools that were open had few kids". This is incorrect. In the black and Hispanic communities, the schools that remained open had hundreds of children each day and did so with a teaching staff that was a fraction of the usual staff. It was not surprising to have 40-50 children on a given day sitting on window sills. As for Joel Klein - who cares what he did - he was never a teacher no matter what his resume says - the same as Randy.


    1. But compared to the full load it was relatively few and of course the teaching staff was reduced.
      I do have an interest in rehashing the arguments because they are so relevant to today in terms of the union support for mayoral control and the calls to go back to a version of community control. Let's not make the same mistakes. We need to analyze what happened from the hindsight of almost 50 years given that the strike still has lasting impact and in fact I believe holds the basis for the rise of the ed deform movement 15 years later under Reagan. The charge of union abuse of power has haunted us ever since.


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